Joplin Tornado 2011

May 23, 2011 by staff 

Joplin Tornado 2011Joplin Tornado 2011, A tornado that claimed at least 89 lives in Joplin, Missouri; Sunday is part of a disturbing pattern in a climate of violence spring. A series of outbreaks of tornadoes in April and May have killed more than 400 Americans. Joplin officials, still reeling from the tornado, such as sirens went about 20 minutes before the twister reached, but given the fluid situation on the ground is still not possible to know why so many people died.

On average, deaths caused by tornadoes in the United States rose from 8 per 1 million people in 1925 to 0.11 per 1 million people today – a trend largely attributed to early warning systems fed advanced by the weather and the introduction of Doppler radar.

However, the impressive number of tornadoes in the spring raise new questions about government subsidies for shelter from the storm, the psychology of the alert response, the possibility of evacuations become limited, and the argument that tornado warning and response should be considered as a matter of national security.

“As great as these events have been, people are putting politics aside and ask questions that were not willing to call a year ago,” said Kevin Simmons, an economist at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, who has studied tolls tornado disaster. “After the tornado in Oklahoma City in 1999, were horrified by 36 people dying. Now we’re talking about hundreds.”

The absolute power of the storm systems that have been produced by falls unusual jet stream, bringing strong cold fronts in the Midwest and South, is the main factor in the number of deaths, the researchers said. April saw record 600 tornadoes generated in the U.S., many of them powerful enough to crush homes and shopping centers. Researchers have to go back to a massive tornado outbreak of 1974 and then back to the 1930 storms to find a similar magnitude and impact.

“When an F4 or F5 tornado hit, there’s not much you can do to change the outcome,” said the governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley (R) in April.

However, researchers studying the events of this spring are finding gaps in the overall capacity Americans to stay informed on the threat of tornadoes.

Blackouts ahead of tornadoes in Alabama last month, probably prevented many victims to receive notices of radio and television, said Mike Smith, author of “Warning: The true story of how tame the climate science” This raises a question national security, he says, about electricity deregulation and its effect on the ability of utilities to restore power quickly.

“There is excellent evidence that many people, many of them did not receive the notice in Alabama,” says Smith, vice president of AccuWeather Business Solutions in Wichita, Kansas “I talked to one person after another told me, ‘Thanks to goodness someone is paying attention to the power outage. ”

Bob Drost, Geocognition Laboratory researcher at the University of Michigan Research, found in a study last year that personal experience with damaging storms is an important factor in determining how people respond to tornado warnings. “It’s comparable to bite an apple with a worm in it,” the news service said the university last year. “Eating from a worm will affect how you decide on eating apples for the rest of his life.”

But the tornado warning system – and how states and municipalities apply it – can also play a role in affecting these attitudes. Smith calls it “crying wolf” phenomenon. On Sunday, for example, the tornado sirens went in Lawrence, Kansas, although the area was out of the memory of National Weather Service tornado warning. About three-quarters of all tornado sirens are false alarms, according to a National Weather Service.

“It is important to reduce the rate of false alarms,‚ÄĚsays Smith. “We are inadvertently training people to not react when the sirens go off.”

As in Joplin on Sunday, forecasters are able to give people a warning 20 minutes of a tornado strike. Investigators believe the 20 minute mark is the “point of flattening out” for the effectiveness of a warning, because lead times seem to have no appreciable impact on the toll of casualties.

However, a new generation of weather radar – being tested by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma – provides the ability to predict tornado strikes nearly one hour ahead.

This development is already sparking a debate on whether to order evacuations ahead of a limited tornado. Especially in populated areas as the affected areas in Alabama and Missouri, evacuations as you probably could save lives. But ask people from their homes to try to outrun a tornado unpredictable poses a number of questions about responsibility and trade-offs security.

Politicians are likely to begin discussing government subsidies to help Americans in areas prone to storms, like the so-called Dixie Alley, build storm shelters. This requires a complexanlysis of risk-reward, including putting a price on human lives.

Considering the benefits to human health, the government usually determines that a price range and 5 million and 10 million worth to save a single human life. As for tornadoes in Alabama last month, the government would have had to spend close to 30 million in grants for tornado shelter life saved, says Mr. Simmons at Austin College.

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